Affordable Housing

Housing costs at are the heart of our Island's economic problems.  High housing costs burden families and make it difficult to attract professional talent.  Housing costs inflate wages and make Hawaii uncompetitive in the global marketplace.  Even technology companies who pay fantastic wages cannot afford to expand their workforce in Hawaii.

Nearly every profession suffers as a result.  We can't find enough teachers.  Why? Because we can't pay them enough to afford housing.  Even traditionally well-paid professions like nurses and doctors find housing to be a significant challenge.

The shortage also impacts our ability to deliver core government services.  Even well-paid union workers cannot afford a home.  This makes it difficult to adequately staff the Hawaii County departments responsible for providing core services to our community.

How Core '24 Addresses Affordable Housing

Our plan to overhaul planning and permitting is the first step.  According to the University of Hawaii Economic and Research Organization 58% of the cost of new housing is driven by regulation.  That means a $600,000 home would cost $252,000 if it weren't for the planning and permitting process.  All of a sudden, it is affordable.  We need to change the planning landscape to encourage and welcome new housing development.

The overhaul will also have the effect of lowering insurance premiums island wide.  Most homeowner insurance policies are written to pay the replacement cost of a destroyed or damaged structure.  By streamlining planning and permitting Hawaii County can cut the cost of new housing in half.  This cuts replacement costs in half and should dramatically reduce insurance premiums.

The next step is to extend water and sewer service to neighborhoods under development.  It turns out that projects like the Kuakini Heights Affordable Housing Project haven't been delayed by permitting or planning.  They've been delayed because the Water Department didn't have the resources to provide the 40 water credits the project needs to get started.

The final step is to create transportation infrastructure that encourages density.  The economic centers of our communities need safe sidewalks, dedicated bike lanes and reliable public transit.  This reduces the need for private parking and opens up land for high density, affordable housing.